State research archivist Norwood Kerr says the last one was Thomas Seay, who was president of the Alabama Senate when he was elected governor in 1886.
Another president of the Senate, William D. Jelks, moved up to governor because of the death of Gov. William Samford in 1901, and then after 18 months he won a full term as governor. But he didn't get elected straight from the legislature.
Bentley says his top priority is passing ethics legislation to rein in lobbyists and make sure voters know where candidates are getting their money.
Bentley held a news conference Wednesday morning in Tuscaloosa, where he said he expects the new Republican-controlled legislature to ban the transfer of money between political action committees. That legislation has passed the House for several years and died in the Senate.
The two-term Republican legislator said he would like to place restrictions on how much time lobbyists can spend with elected officials and have some lobbyist-free days at the legislature.
Bentley predicted nothing will happen on gambling in the Alabama Legislature's regular session this spring, because the session will coincide with the trial of 11 people accused of buying and selling votes on pro-gambling legislation.